My First Real Day In Amsterdam

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I’ve been to Amsterdam several times, but always in business and I’ve never really had the chance to get a feel for the place.  I arrived yesterday by and Steph met me off the coach.  It was incredibly nice to be greeted as I was quite nervous and I was so touched that she’d done so much preparation to make everything easy for me, food, money, maps, travel cards, hints and tips etc, it really took the stress away.  I was really tired last night as it had been a long day, but it was an amazing one, I really enjoyed the travelling, the coach was comfortable, my food was great, I had lots to entertain me and the views were lovely, especially Rotterdam by night.

I woke up this morning after a perfect 8 hour sleep, it’s a good job that I didn’t want to sleep in though because they are pile driving the foundations for a new apartment block not far from Steph’s room, which incidentally I watched for 15 minutes later in the day and it was fascinating.  Steph had brought me the ingredients for a fruit salad so I had that for breakfast and then I went out for a walk leaving Steph to get on with her work.  I was back after an hour and a half and absolutely delighted by the amazing experience.  I love working waterways, and the area near Steph is incredibly busy with huge freight and a few leisure boats.  The walkways are superb and the houses and apartments are fantastic.

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I arrived back at Steph’s at around lunchtime and I had a bowl of cereal and a protein bar, both of which I’d brought with me and we chatted for a while and I packed my bags.  Steph then left for a lecture while I went on a much longer version of the walk I’d done earlier.  This time though I went all around the waterfront housing, crept onto some of the private islands, found a swimming beach (maybe Friday I will take a dip there).  That walk took me nearly three hours and is shown below.

wander around amsterdam - stephs area

I particularly liked the fact that the waterways had reed sheltered areas of water that were very rich in wildlife, I saw a majestic Heron fishing in one of these and I watched ‘him’ for a while.  I also saw some great house boats and about a dozen tiny wooden summer holiday ‘sheds’ that were all beautifully maintained and most had matching gardens.

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One of the great things about Amsterdam is that even in industrial areas and areas with dual carriageway roads, there are always excellent footpaths and crossings as well as cycle paths, this makes getting around on foot a real joy.  Crossing roads is a lengthy process though as it tends to involve a 4 step process, check cycleway, check left hand lane, check right hand lane, check another cycleway, I’ve not had any near misses yet!

I arrived back at Steph’s mid afternoon, and then headed for the tram stop, number 26 to Central Station and using the travel card Steph had procured for me it was a very quick and easy trip into town.  I then swapped to tram number 13 and a few minutes later was on my way to the Student Hotel.  The tram stopped a couple of minutes walk away and I was soon in my room.  The hotel is really cool, the communal spaces look great (see below) and the whole place has the perfect vibe.  My room is equally excellent having a small kitchen, bathroom and living space with a desk and amazing views from the sixth floor.  I’ve just got back from a trip to the supermarket to stock up my fridge and I will be settling down to watch some episodes of Fringe on my big screen TV before having an early night.

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I’m definitely learning a lot about travelling light on this trip already and will be bringing half as much stuff on my next trip, when we were London I was admiring Steph’s fold up travel rucksack and after lugging my bags around today I’m appreciating it even more, I mentioned this to her and she promptly bought me one for Christmas, she says I can have it early xx

It’s Steph’s birthday tomorrow and we are meeting in the centre and spending most of the day together, I’m excited!

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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